There is a new wave of residents in Montrose that don’t know what life is like without the Community Recreation Center on South Woodgate Road. In the five years since the world class facility opened its doors, it has gone from strength to strength and it appears it will continue that trend.
The imposing yet quirky Rec Center (officially called the Montrose CRC), with the water slide snaking out and then back into the building, has come to embody the recreation lifestyle in the Uncompahgre Valley. Currently the Rec District serves 35,000 people, larger than the city of Montrose but smaller than the county and it will certainly serve more as the area grows. Offering every recreation opportunity that a resident could ask for at a price well below the country club facilities that it equals or surpasses.
Into rock climbing? There’s a 27’ wall just as you enter (painted to replicate the Black Canyon of the Gunnison). Training for a triathlon? Get all your circuits done under one roof with the lap pool, spin bikes, and indoor track or treadmills. Addicted to the newest fad in town, pickleball? There are courts indoors and out with league play galore. Enjoy bonding with friends during a group fitness class? Take your pick from any of the 50 classes per week (yoga, tai chi, spin class, Stand-up Paddle Board Yoga, ZUMBA, Silver Sneakers varieties, and more).
When visiting the Rec Center now, it is hard to believe that just 10 years ago the Rec District was at a crossroads. Their calling card was what is now the Fieldhouse on Rio Grande Ave and South Ninth; however it was dated. There was an indoor pool, an outdoor kids’ pool (that still exists), and a couple of rooms of exercise equipment. The facility was aged, in need of repair, and not serving the needs of the community. After two ballot measures, Montrose citizens voted in 2014 to approve a city sales tax increase of 0.3 percent in order to get the facility they dreamed would complement an active west slope resident’s lifestyle. And complement it, it has.
The Montrose Community Rec Center facility is an 82,000-square-foot facility that is a beauty both in design and function. It is the largest rec center on the Western Slope and often ranked in the top five recreation centers in the state (the other four being on the Front Range). An average of 5,000 visitors stop by the Rec Center each week,and, in addition to the economic impact from membership fees, the facility employs 24 full-time staff and over 200 part-time employees.
And the Montrose Rec District isn’t just focused on enhancing the lives of people that stop by the Rec Center. There are also year-round programs for all age groups and interests within the Rec District boundaries including youth disc golf leagues, adult kickball fun leagues, Gunnison River float trips, and mountain bike skills clinics at Cerise Park. There is also a program for those that are 50+, including winery tours, open line dancing, crafty chatty groups, and more. The Rec Center is also a Certified Silver Sneakers facility which means senior citizens are able to join for free because of their health insurance coverage.
The new Rec Center also allowed the Fieldhouse to be reinvented. Indoor soccer leagues (streamed live on Facebook no less), outdoor summer pool days for the kids, a mini outdoor garden, and pool party rentals allow the Fieldhouse space to remain a thriving venue. The Fieldhouse is also home to Weehawken Arts.
The impact of the Montrose Rec District reaches far beyond the physical buildings. It is at the heart of the community, providing all kinds of options and opportunities to every demographic, at an affordable price. It provides opportunities to try new activities, a chance to make new friends, or a place to rehab from an injury; most of all, it offers the chance to be part of the community.